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Gone via the Gulf

GENEVA: IATA reports a 12.9 percent increase in air cargo traffic for the Middle East region in November adding that Asian and Gulf carriers captured over 90 percent of the month's global upturn of 4.2 percent.

Etihad Airways Boeing 787-9Carriers in Asia-Pacific accounted for 55 percent of the total year-on-year air cargo growth while airlines in the Middle East contributed a further 38 percent. The Gulf carriers also contributed 64 percent of the increase in global capacity during the past 12 months as the trend to ship via their hubs continues.

"More goods are being traded internationally and that is fueling the growth in airfreight," said IATA CEO Tony Tyler. "This year we expect air freight markets to expand by 4.5 percent, outpacing projected growth in world trade (4.0 percent). But that optimism is tempered by the many macro-economic and political risks that continue to impact trade flows," he added.

IATA notes that while European airlines saw a 0.9 percent rise in traffic in November, the Eurozone economy "continues to flatline, affected by renewed concerns over the Euro and Russian sanctions. Export markets in Asia and North America have potential but this is not outweighing the negative impact of weak home markets." This trend was confirmed as Air France-KLM reported a 4.2 percent drop in revenue cargo traffic for December and a 2.4 percent overall decline for the year compared to the previous 12 months.

"The air cargo industry enters 2015 propelled by solid growth trend. Shippers have a choice in modes of transport and, like customers everywhere, demand ever-greater value. To turn the growth into sustained stronger profitability, the air cargo industry faces the challenge of investing in more efficient and higher quality processes and facilities that will give it the winning edge over its competitors," said Tyler.

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